It may be odd to some, but my favorite time of year is during the final weeks of summer as the days shorten and the fall season approaches. This has been true since I was a player anticipating a new season, a college coach anxious to begin preseason camp, and this excitement still very much remains true to this day. The reason being is that each team I coach offers new experiences, poses different challenges, and presents new opportunities to grow.
I typically spend much of my summer recharging the batteries for the coming year and going back through new and old videos, past curriculums, books, etc. in an effort to refine and enhance the product and experience we offer our players. This summer was the same in many ways, but I also had the opportunity to be coached by a master coach without even being aware of it. The words that follow aren’t intended to be a promotion of P90x, but to share some of the commentary Tony Horton, P90x creator, uses throughout the program and how we can apply them to our coaching.
“Do your best, forget the rest”. Very simple philosophy, but isn’t that what we should ask of both ourselves and our players? No more, no less. If we, as coaches, come prepared to do a great job and attempt to make each interaction with our players meaningful and productive for all involved, aren’t those the values that sport is supposed to instill? If we have done this and our practice comes up short of our expectations, it’s not a failure, it’s just an opportunity to re-evaluate our approach, or the plan itself, and learn. If our players compete to the best of their ability, but the game result doesn’t reflect their effort, does that minimize what they gave?
“It’s not about being perfect”. Mistakes will be made and we should embrace, not run away from, this reality. Struggle is part of the learning process. Getting better at something takes time. There are no shortcuts. Things our players struggle with during weeks one or two are often mastered by weeks four and five, it just takes patience and perseverance and perhaps an encouraging word from the coach to guide his/her players through the development process. Can we replace the “I can’t” attitude with “I presently struggle with…”? It’s amazing what a positive outlook can accomplish over time.
“Write it down”. Take a few minutes to keep a log of your practices and games. Write down what worked for you and what didn’t work. By keeping a journal, you provide yourself a reference point to chart your progress as a team.
“Keep pushing play”. Be present. There will days that will be hard to lead and you may want to be somewhere else, but by being committed to the process and by being present (“pushing play”) you’ll continue to grow.
“Enjoy the Journey”. No team or experience is ever the same. New faces are welcomed into the team while others depart. Former role players become key figures and once quiet voices begin to emerge.
This happens every season. What an awesome experience coaching can be when we embrace the challenges and opportunities each new season brings. If we embrace all that the new season brings with it, we can’t help but to enjoy the journey!